Work Professionally

on Friday, 25 November 2005
I was told that someone said we should work professionally until the very last day, as a matter of ethics and professionalism. I have a problem with that. I'm not leaving (yet) and I'm also not really working (not a good sign).

What does it mean when you don't feel like putting any effort into your work? Is it the fact that I'm getting unrealistic tasks to work on? Tasks that I'm ill-equipped to tackle? Is it the management's fault for the company's low morale? Or is it my own fault for not being mentally stronger to resist this lethargy?

If I wasn't right in the middle of this situation, I might have found it hilarious. With people from finance doing HR, those in HR don't really know how to do HR, those from consulting doing management, a non-techie is the lead tech person, and sales and marketing not closing any sales and not doing any marketing. Even worse, pluses are allowed to leave seemingly without much effort to retain them, while minuses remain to leech without much effort to get rid of them.

Sounds grim doesn't it? There are so many cracks and holes already; I wonder if it's still repairable. End of rant.

Dream Job

on Monday, 21 November 2005
I dream about having a job in a games company like Blizzard or BioWare, famous makers of the Warcraft series of games and the Neverwinter Nights series respectively. Or perhaps Turbine Inc., developer of the upcoming D&D Online (woohoo!!). Or even Magic: The Gathering Online. Apparently, there is one more job that would be even better: the Pro Gamer. Check out this news on Johnathan Wendel. It felt unbelieveable, but see this interview and the same news posted on Yahoo! News. I think that fella just become my idol... a six-figure salary! Gaming! He even has this snazzy-looking website, Fatal1ty, his screen name, and his own branded merchandise. Wow. I feel so insignificant.

Bad Luck and Bad Etiquette

There I was, parked along the road right next to the entrance of Pudu bus station, waiting for my girlfriend's bus to arrive, thinking that I had a good spot. I usually stop a bit further back as I didn't want to risk not finding a spot and having to one big round again. A lot of cars came and went, some stopping close to mine, so they could just drop someone off or pick someone up before going off. It was just my luck that this Kancil driven by a Malay girl (from the tudung, or head covering), with some driving skill deficiency, bumped her side-view mirror against mine, folding mine forward (I'm thinking it was really lucky it could fold). The Kancil just kinda slowed, slowed, then went off, the driver not looking back at all, not even a glance or stare, much less any apologetic signal. When I righted the side-view mirror again, I noticed a rather obvious scratched patch. Sigh. Just my luck. I cursed that driver a little. Even she had just stopped, glanced back, motioned something that I may interpret as an apology, I just might've spared her the cursing. Cursing someone is sinful. Darn it.

Color Quiz

on Wednesday, 16 November 2005
Seeing that my sis took the ColorQuiz and posted the results, I decided to shamelessly do the same thing:

Your Existing Situation
Seeks to share a bond of understanding intimacy in an esthetic atmosphere of peace and tenderness.
whoa... really?

Your Stress Sources
The tenacity and strength of will necessary to contend with existing difficulties has become weakened. Feels overtaxed, worn out, and getting nowhere, but continues to stand his ground. He feels this adverse situation as an actual tangible pressure which is intolerable to him and from which he wants to escape, but he feels unable to make the necessary decision.
yup yup

Your Restrained Characteristics
Willing to become emotionally involved, but demanding and particular in his choice of a partner and in his relations with those close to him. Needs reassurance and is careful to avoid open conflict since this might reduce his prospects of realizing his hopes.

Able to achieve satisfaction through sexual activity.
interesting... i didn't know that :P

Your Desired Objective
Suffering from pent-up overstimulation which threatens to discharge itself in an outburst of impulsive and impassioned behavior.
beware! all of you!

Your Actual Problem
The tensions induced by trying to cope with conditions which are really beyond his capabilities, or reserves of strength, have led to considerable anxiety and a sense of personal (but unadmitted) inadequacy. His inability to enforce his will causes him to over-react in stubborn defiance and by assigning to others all the blame for his own failures.
It's not my fault I tell you, not my fault!! lol

Magic the Gathering

on Saturday, 12 November 2005
A friend of mine has gotten me back into playing Magic: The Gathering (MTG) collectible card game (CCG) again. Here's the wikipedia entry for it. And here's the Wizards of the Coast (WotC) website for MTG.

Briefly, it's game where each player is considered a wizard or spellcaster, with his "spells" being made up of a collection of cards, usually 40 or 60 cards (many variants exist). A player starts the game with 20 life points, and the game proceeds with each player taking alternate turns to attempt to bring about spells, creatures, and effects to bring the opponent's life total to zero. WotC actually went and created a very nice introductory program for newcomers, if you're willing to wait for the long download. It's worth it for those interested. Or you can just browse or download the rules.

WotC recently released the latest expansion set of Ravnica, the start of a new block after the Kamigawa block (made up of Champions, Betrayers, and Saviors of Kamigawa). An expansion set is just a set of cards within a card block. A block consists of cards linked thematically. I stopped playing during the Ice Age and Homelands sets with the 4th Edition core set way back in 1995. It's now 9th Edition, which was released last year. A core set is simply the current main set of cards.

Magic has really changed alot since I last played. I'm getting addicted all over again. I's a pretty expensive hobby though, so I recently drastically cut down on all games and movie expenses. A good-enough deck can be constructed with around RM50, although it'll never be tournament quality. Some cards can even reach several hundred ringgit (each!). I would say that the statement "the richest player wins most often" holds a much lesser degree of truth than some other CCGs, like Yu-Gi-Oh. Going RM100 is often quite enough to get a good deck for casual play that will lasts through the years. And just so you know, you can be a pro Magic player, just like a pro chess player or pro golfer. The tournaments aren't as glamourous or as rewarding, but I'd say thousands of US dollars ain't bad at all...

Magic consists of 5 different spell colours, each symbolizing different themes, flavour, or ideals. For those of you who already know Magic from before 2002, here's to tell you that Magic underwent a long design session to redefine and clarify each colour. Here's an insight into what each colour represents (in chronological order):
  • Green - life, growth, nature
  • White - order, law, purity
  • Blue - knowledge, manipulation, artifice
  • Black - power, decay, death
  • Red - emotion, might, chaos
Each colour is allied to two colours, and opposed to the other two colours; sitting on the points of a pentagon. And given that Ravnica's focus is in colour pairs (which is very nice and exciting btw), new articles regarding each pair are out (in chronological order):

Disposable Email

on Thursday, 10 November 2005
Ever been in situations where you need to use a valid email to register a service you'd only want to use once? Such as trial versions of software you're checking out, or registering for forums you just want to browse for answers once? These are times when you'd rather not give away your primary or secondary email addresses.

Mailinator has a good answer. Simply come up with any email address you want (15 characters max.) and use it for whatever purpose requires a valid email address. For example, "", or "". Once the email is sent, just go to the above website, and check your inbox using your randomly thought up email as the inbox name. Tada! Your email's right there.

The only drawback I can think of is that you'd probably not want sensitive information sent this way, since anyone could potentially think up the same "random" email as you did.

Lost Fingers, Hands, and Eyes

on Sunday, 6 November 2005
Each time the festive season rolls around, the daily news mostly includes an article or two of kids losing their sight, fingers, or the whole hand to playing with firecrackers. Some say these kids are naughty, peeling off all the wrappers and gathering the combustible gunpowder for one big bang, not knowing the danger they're in. Some say they are foolish, for naively holding lit firecrackers that didn't go off. These children will bear these scars for the rest of their lives...

Who is to blame? The government for not passing stricter laws? The police for not enforcing them and preventing the smuggling of firecrackers? Or the smugglers and traders who traffick in these goods? If they are to blame, then they only play a very minor role.

The primary offenders are the irresponsible parents who bought the firecrackers and jsut handed them to their children without even considering the consequences. How can they justify the handing of dangerous items to children who likely have no idea what causes all the sparks and loud bangs? How could they sit and chat away by themselves and leave the children to play with firecrackers unsupervised? Is it this behaviour that I find most puzzling. And it is these few irresponsible adults that deprive the newer generations of the joy of watching and lighting firecrackers during festive celebrations. How much more wonderful would these times be for children if only that small minority would learn better.